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How do you know when you have depression?

By Anonymous March 9, 2011 - 8:14am
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I have always thought of myself as a very outgoing, confident and fun person. In fact people would say 'everything you touch turns to gold' or 'you always land on your feet' but over the last few years, due to unforseen circumstances, a number of difficult things have happened to me and have brought about periods of crying, depressive thoughts, pain, and generally feeling out of sorts. I lost my much loved job around 9 months ago and have been struggling to get work ever since. I am putting myself through rejection after rejection in interviews and each time this has knocked my confidence. I have also been quite poorly. I have endometriosis and sometimes experience terrible pain (which grinds you down) and I had surgery last month to remove it. I also had another surgery last summer to address the pain. I dont seem to get any medical guidance in understanding what is going on with my body and I wonder if the hormonal imbalance is affecting these depressive moods. I have also experienced pain in my vagina (not sure if this is endometriosis or hormones, this doesnt affect my sex life but puts an added strain on things) But I wanted to ask about my mental health.I have definately lost my confidence, I always felt attractive (got plenty of attention from men) but that has gone and now I dont like looking at myself in the mirror. I regularly feel low and cry and cry (sometimes not quite sure why) but I kind of feel out of control with it. A bit like the day before your period when your hormones are making you feel low and sensitive and you cant control how you feel emotionally. Everyone around me is worried, my mum constantly checks in and asks if I 'am better' now but I know that I am still stuck in this dreadful state of lowness. I have lost energy and struggle to get out of bed, absolutely love sleeping and taking baths as this is the only time I can escape the torment. I have a wonderful boyfriend who supports me but I live in fear that he will leave me because my life has turned so crap. He met me at my most confident, attractive in a high flying job and it must be tough seeing me on the sofa crying when he gets in from work.

What is this that I am experiencing? My GP says I am being silly and just a little stressed but I'm not right and have been like this for some time now. How do I get better? Do our bodies react like this when under stress? How do I know if this is proper depression? I'm desperate to get back to my old self :( Can anyone offer any advice?

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In addition to the information above, I also wanted to share with you my personal experience with this. I was a part of the dot-com bust in the early 2000s. I lost two decently-paying career jobs in two years. After the second layoff, I was down-in-the-dumps. I also had just purchased a house with my then boyfriend--I too was terrified he would break-up with me for not being productive and contributing to our homestead.
So what did I do? I started a monthly women's group with some close friends so I could have something to focus on in addition to trying to find a job. That group still gets together monthly, and it's come to be something I cherish. As far as work goes, I tried my hand at being a recruiter (it was a commission-only job that payed on a meager hourly draw). That job lasted seven months. Then I got a job as a hostess at a steakhouse while I trained for a marathon and raised funds for the American Stroke Association (I also continued to look for a job in my career field). After doing the marathon, I worked a handful a short term and freelance gigs in my career field, each were a month or two in duration, and paid better than I had made in a long time. After that, I got a program manager job at a non-profit organization (the pay wasn't even close to what I was making in my career, but it was fulfilling in a different way by helping under-served kids in Phoenix). Then I found out about a work at home opportunity in my career field that came about from an old contact at one of my previous jobs. Adjust your perspective, and you may find things that are "good enough" for now.
This all covered the span of about two and a half years. Sometimes you have to float a while until the next big thing hits. The point being, I was only truly out of work for a few weeks. I always found myself something to focus on because I know I have a tendency to get depressed if I don't have a focus. Do something, you'll feel better. Even if it's just meeting with a counselor to help develop a plan, it will be worth it.
Take care~

March 9, 2011 - 9:36am

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your question and for sharing your story. If you think something is wrong, and don't feel right, you are valid. As your GP to refer you to a psychiatrist for evaluation. They can help you decide if an ongoing support group, one-on-one therapy, or medication would help you get over the funk you're currently in. I know how losing your job and medical issues can bring you down. I believe the more you try to take a proactive role in finding your happiness the closer you will get to where you want to be.
If you can't get a job, find a new focus like getting a lower paying job at a local business just to bring some money in so you can improve your self-confidence. Even with a job, you can keep looking at jobs in your career field in case a good one comes along. I also bet that if you have a job to make ends meet, your confidence will translate to better performance on interviews. Have you looked into temporary work at all? Sometimes career-orientated people can find short term work that way to get back into a career job. If none of that sounds good, volunteer at an organization. Or start a workout program for yourself so at least if you can't work, you can do something to improve self-confidence. Enlist a friend or relative to call you or make a date to exercise so you will be held accountable until it becomes a habit. Perhaps you could go back to school and get extra training to make yourself more desirable to new work opportunities. I'm just throwing ideas out to help spark something. If you want to get back to your old self, develop a program that you will stick with and see where you are at in two or three months.
What do you think of that?
If you need some resources and information, let us know. Good luck, and let us know how you're doing.

March 9, 2011 - 9:13am
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